Aquifer District Returns to Stage II Alarm Drought

The District’s Board of Directors declared Stage II Alarm Drought at the August 14th Board Meeting, effective immediately. Lovelady monitor well, one of the District’s two drought-trigger sites, crossed below its Stage II Alarm Drought water level of 478.4 feet above mean sea level in mid-July. 10-day average discharge at Barton Springs, the District’s other drought trigger site, is at its Drought threshold of 38 cubic feet per second. Only one of the two drought stage triggers needs to be reached for a drought declaration to be made.

Mandatory drought restrictions had been lifted at the June 26th meeting when both the Lovelady Monitor Well water level and Barton Springs 10-day average discharge were above their drought thresholds and forecasts were predicting above average rainfall. However, the subsequent rains mostly missed the contributing and recharge zones, so no significant recharge occurred. Water levels and spring flow are steadily declining.

Declaration of Stage II Alarm Drought requires all of the District’s permittees to implement mandatory measures specified in their User Drought Contingency Plans to meet monthly pumpage reduction requirements. All permittees must achieve at least a 20% reduction in monthly pumpage. Permittees with conditional permits have to reduce use even further. End-user customers served by water utilities on groundwater wells are required to comply with their utility’s water use restrictions for this drought stage. Generally, restricting outdoor water use, including limiting landscape irrigation, pool filling & refilling, and non-essential water use such as water fountains, is sufficient to reach monthly pumpage targets for Stage II Alarm Drought. September will be the first full month of declared drought, and therefore, the first monthly compliance assessments for drought curtailments.